Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats

GREEK EDUCATION                        17

two fairly distinct stages, designated by the Athenians themselves
the Old and the New Education. It is impossible to assign an
exact date to these, but, as a rough approximation, it may be said
that the period of the Old Education lasted from the Sixth
Century B.C, till the middle of the Fifth, when Athens reached
the height of her power in Greece; and that the New Education
lasted for rather more than a century after that, ending in 338 B.a
with the conquest of the Greek Sftates by Philip of Macedonia,
the father of Alexander the Great*

The Old Education

From the beginning, as we have seen, Athenian education
differed very considerably from Spartan education, and the
difference steadily increased as time went on. One thing, indeed,
they had in common; both were thoroughly practical and
aimed directly at preparing the boy for his adult activities as a
member of the State, But Spartan life and Athenian life being
different, there was a like difference in their educations. / In
Sparta the boy was trained to be a soldier-citizen : in Athens he
was trained not only for war, but for peace* Thus while gym-
nastics in some form were the chief concern of the Spartan
discipline, the Athenian schools added to gymnastics a training
in music, with all that it implied, and even their gymnastics
were modified in accordance with the requirements of their
finer aesthetic sense.!

Jin this first period the gymnastic training was the more im*
portarit part of Athenian education, and the only part of which
the State took direct cognizance. To get this training, the boys
went to some private palestra or wrestling school, while the youths
just out of boyhood went to one of the two public gymnasiaJ
the Academy and thcj Cynosargcs, which had been established
in the time of Solon A The seven-year-old boys, who had just
begun their education, being physically unfit for the ordinary
exercises, were taught good deportment and light physical drill,
and were encouraged to play ball and the other games dear to
the children of all lands, Their real gymnastic training did not
begin till they were able to profit by it about the age of twelve
or thirteen* They were then set to acquire skill in the fivefold
course called the pentathlon, which comprised jumping,